The Rapture - Part 4 - The Elect
If you have not yet read parts 1-3, please click on the applicable links below:
Who are the Elect?
Another view believes that during the end times and “The Great Tribulation” of those days, the Holy Spirit will give us supernatural spiritual strength to endure and reject what is false. Think of the strength given to the early church. They could endure the trials of being put to death. Have there not been Christians in modern times who went to their deaths for their faith? The fact is that more Christians have been put to death for their faith in the last one-hundred years than in the prior One-Thousand, nine hundred years combined. The truth remains that the early Christians were far from being alone in their spiritual and physical sufferings during their battles with the enemy.
In light of that, a question comes to mind; did the early church have to endure, deception by supernaturally charged false prophets that derive their power from Satan himself? I do not believe, as of the writing of this book, that any false prophets of that caliber have established themselves on the Earth as of yet.
It seems very plausible that the reason Jesus states, “…if that were possible” is because the majority of the “Elect” will not be here to fall into that trap. That trap is set for the ungodly and wicked that are appointed to suffer God’s wrath. If the majority of the “Elect” are “Raptured” they will certainly be hard to deceive. Those few that remain, the ones who become "Elect" after the "Rapture" will have to be given a supernatural spiritual strength, enough to endure even death.
"And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: "They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; "but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. "Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. "In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. "Remember Lot's wife. "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. "I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. "Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. "Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left."
Luke 17 (MKJV)
We find in Luke, again Jesus is speaking to his disciples about the days of Noah and of the women grinding and of the men in the field just as Matthew told the story. This time Luke adds the story of the men in the bed and also the story of Lot and his family. In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, God comes to remove his “Elect” (Lot and his family) and then he destroys the cities. Unfortunately, Lot’s wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt. I believe the “looking back” has a dualistic meaning, one in which she really just looked back and because she did not obey God’s order not to look back, she was ultimately destroyed. The second meaning here is more figurative in that she was not willing to give up those sinful, Earthly desires, nor was she willing to give up her old life for the ways of righteousness and so God extolled on her, his just punishment, to suffer the same wrath as those wicked and ungodly people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The idea that both Matthew and Luke’s accounts of this sermon are very similar reveals that this must have been an important fact to remember. Luke’s account was a compilation of facts that he had gathered from many people who were witnesses to the events and life of Jesus, whereas Matthew was an actual Apostle of Jesus who was with him most of the time. His account is directly from what he himself saw and recalled. Some people point out the differences in the different Gospels, but the truth is that each author is writing the events down as they had seen them (as in Matthew, Mark [Likely Peter's Gospel] and John) or by the gathering of facts and recollections of several witnesses combined (as in Luke). Each has a different point of view and each wrote down what was most important to them. The timelines are not as necessary as the events themselves. The differences only add further credibility to the stories since all the Gospels have slightly different points of view, which actually proves they were written by different authors with differing perspectives and recollections. For example, an event that may have been important to Matthew, may not have been as important to John. Sometimes we find overlapping accounts from different perspectives and other times we find events or facts found in one Gospel and not in any other.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Romans 5:9-11 (MKJV)
Again, let me point out that that we are saved from the wrath, not through it. Some believe that this wrath is pointing to eternal damnation in hell. They equate "Wrath" with punishment. With that line of reasoning, that would also mean that Hell equates to punishment. I do not think hell is God’s "punishment" for not believing. Hell is a place, prepared for Satan and his angels, where some humans, unfortunately go because they have chosen rebellion, to be eternally separated from God and being separated from God means no love, no peace, no joy, no happiness because God is all of these things and more. Without God, there is only suffering, misery, depression, anger and all of the evils that a world without God would produce. He gave us a choice and those that choose not to believe in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, choose to be separated from God in the eternal separation and damnation of hell. Therefore, Hell is not so much a punishment as it is a choice.
Hell is not God’s wrath. Wrath is what happens to the living. It is anger and punishment for not obeying God. God poured out his wrath on several occasions to the disobedient. He destroyed the Earth and all of its inhabitants (except Noah, his family, and two of every sort of animal, except the clean animals which were seven) during the flood. God also poured out his wrath in the form of fire, on Sodom and Gomorrah. He also poured out his wrath on the enemies of Israel numerous times. His wrath is His anger and He does not want any of us to go to hell. His wrath is just and is usually to teach a lesson or get us to change our heart and turn to Him. Unfortunately, there is no turning back from Hell.
In the story of Jonah, God tells Jonah to warn the people of Ninevah to turn from their wickedness or else be destroyed. They turned back to God without any hesitation and God spared them. Another example in Jeremiah, is when God warned the Israelites of His wrath if they did not turn from their idol worship and wickedness. They did not listen to God and were destroyed and plundered and enslaved by the Babylonians. God’s wrath is appointed for not being obedient to Him. John mentions over and over again that the people would not turn from their wickedness, even through this wrath.
“The Great Tribulation” is also called the “Winepress of God’s Wrath” as we find in Revelation 19:15:
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Revelation 19:15 (MKJV)
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